Can a woman who is in menstruation perform fasting according to verse 184 of the chapter of al-Baqara?

The Details of the Question

A theology professor states the following:
- Menstruation is a state of illness. Verse 184 of al-Baqara states that a person who is ill can perform fasting. In Hz Aisha’s hadith, performing fasting as qada is mentioned; if a woman wishes, she can perform fasting. The consensus (ijma) that she cannot fast does not bind us. Ijma comes after the Quran and the Sunnah. Ijma cannot abolish a verse.
- Will you explain it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Women do not perform fasting and prayers when they are in menstruation. Afterwards, they do not perform those prayers that they miss but they perform fasting that they miss.

"Ijma" lexically means bringing together and agreeing. Terminologically, it means the agreement of the mujtahids of the ummah of Muhammad in a certain century on a religious decree unanimously.

As it is seen, a unity is in question in both lexical and terminological meaning of ijma (consensus).  

What is meant by that agreement is the agreement of mujtahids because they are the greatest people of the ummah of Muhammad in terms of knowledge and science. The condition of ijma is the unanimous agreement of those who are qualified to make ijtihad. What the mujtahids agree on unanimously becomes a religious decree.  

An issue on which there is ijma has to be based on the Quran or the Sunnah because the right to impose decrees belongs to Allah and His Messenger. Mujtahids cannot impose decrees of their own accord.

There are many evidences about ijma of the ummah. Some of them are as follows:

1. "If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!" (an-Nisa, 4/1 15)

According to the verse above, it is not permissible to follow the path of anybody but believers.

Those who follow the path of others will have left the Prophet, and Allah will land them in Hell.

If a person leaves the group of believers and put forward views opposite to theirs, he will have left their path.  

For example, if the congregation of believers say "it is halal" for something, those who say "it is haram" for the same thing will not have followed the congregation. (Imam Shafii, ar-Risala, p. 472; Imam Ghazzali, al-Mustasfa, I, 175)

2. "My ummah will not agree on misguidance/an error." (Ibn Majah, Fitan, 8)

3. "What Muslims regard as good is also good in the sight of Allah." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I, 379)

Let us explain the issue mentioned in the question now.

A woman who is in menstruation or in puerperium does not perform the fard prayers she misses on those days as qada later because prayers are repeated every day; it is an ease in the religion. However, she performs the Ramadan fasting that she misses on those day later as qada because fasting is not fard every day and it does not last a long time.

The verse related to fasting is as follows:

Fasting rendered fard for you is اَيَّاماً مَعْدُودَاتٍ for a fixed number of days.

That is, fasting is on a few and limited days compared to the days of the year. It was rendered legitimate in a way that will not harm your health and will not weaken you by taking into account your excuses.

فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِ۪يضاً but if any of you is ill,

اَوْ عَليٰ سَفَرٍ

or on a journey,

فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَ

the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later.

Thus, fasting is not fard an ill person or a traveler; they are allowed to eat. If they eat, they perform fasting after they recover or become residents. Fasting becomes wajib upon recovery of health and residence.  

Allah states that issue after that verse and adds the following:  

يُرٖيدُ اللّٰهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرٖيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

"Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties." (al-Baqara, 2/185)

That facility and difficulty must be something mentioned before.

However, there is no facility except the permission given to those who are ill and travelers to eat and no difficulty except their fasting in those states.

Therefore, the meaning of Allah Almighty’s verse  

يُرٖيدُ اللّٰهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرٖيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ is "Allah wants you to eat in those cases; He does not want you to fast.”

Imam Bukhari reports that Abuz-Zinad said, “Sunnahs and religious decrees usually come in a way that human mind cannot understand. Muslims have nothing to do but to obey them. For example, a woman who is in menstruation performs fasting later as qada but she does not perform prayers later.” (Bukhari, Sawm 41)

A woman called Muadha said to Hz. Aisha:

“Why does a woman perform fasting but not prayers that she misses during the period of menses as qada later?”

Hz. Aisha asked her, “Are you a Haruriyya?”

She said, “No, I am not a Haruriyya but I have asked to learn.”

Thereupon, Hz. Aisha said, “When we were in the period of menses, we were ordered to perform fasting later but we were not ordered to perform prayers later.” (Ibn Majah, Taharah 119)

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